Sarah Vaughan: In a Sentimental Mood
In a Sentimental Mood
Sarah Vaughan (vocals)
After Hours (Blue Note 55468)
Composed by Duke Ellington, Manny Kurtz & Irving Mills.
Recorded: New York, July 18, 1961
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
After Hours may finally have satisfied Sarah Vaughan's detractors. In an intimate setting with just guitar and bass accompaniment, Vaughan subtly embellishes the melodies throughout, with commandingly controlled tone and vibrato, limiting the glissandos that some saw as mere vocal tricks or acrobatics. Discerning listeners could still enjoy the way she emphasized certain words, or even just syllables, to enhance the meaning of the lyric and/or the beauty of the melody. In any case, in the early 1960s Vaughan was clearly coming into her own as a mature and complete jazz singer.
With the understated yet substantial support of the tasteful Lowe and Duvivier, Vaughan glides lovingly through "In a Sentimental Mood," picking her spots for improvisation, singing "every kiss" repeatedly to great effect, and toying with the word "divine" in each chorus, hitting a resonant bass note the first time around. She ends her interpretation with a wordless mini-coda, strikingly intoned. Vaughan's three short years as a Roulette recording artist were artistically superb, and After Hours may have been the high point. Whether she reaped much financial benefit is another story. She and other Roulette artists complained about the lack of royalties, among other problems.
Reviewer: Scott Albin